Roy I. Dabney Jr., 57, a retired bank executive and former Prince George's County Council member who was well known for his work as a civic leader, died of a heart attack June 3 at his home in Upper Marlboro.
Mr. Dabney rose from bank teller to head teller, branch manager and eventually vice president before retiring in April after 33 years with First Union National Bank. During his career, he managed to serve on various county government panels and to help raise funds for charity organizations.
For the past six years, he served as vice chairman of the powerful Planning Board of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and from 1991 to 1993, he served on the Prince George's County Citizen Complaint Oversight Panel.
For nearly two decades, he was chairman of the annual telethon of the Washington Metropolitan Area United Cerebral Palsy Association. He also served on the association's National Executive Committee and was past president of the association's Prince George's, Northern Virginia and Washington chapters.
His numerous awards included Prince Georgian of the Year in 1991.
"Roy was a low-key person with a tremendous impact--reliable and dependable," said Planning Board Chairman Elizabeth Hewlett. "He always got the job done and never complained. His influence spread well beyond the commission."
Mr. Dabney rose to local prominence in 1980, when as a political unknown, he beat out more than 20 other candidates and was selected by Democratic Party leaders to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of County Council member Francis G. Francois (At-Large).
Mr. Dabney said in 1980 that he had had no plans to seek political office until he read his name in the newspaper as a potential candidate to succeed Francois. His selection, unanimously approved by the council, was seen as a demonstration of the county's increasingly powerful African American community.
Though a novice to the county's political life during his 2 1/2 years on the council, he was an established figure in the business community as a senior branch officer and manager with what was then First American Bank and as the first African American president of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Dabney was a large man at 6-foot-2, but he was regarded by those who worked with him as soft-spoken. He was considered to be a level-headed leader with an eye for detail.
He once remarked that being president of the Chamber of Commerce may have been the turning point in his professional and civic career.
There he challenged a white-dominated organization because he "wanted to see what it would lead to."
He also served on the county economic development advisory committee, the Metropolitan Council of Governments Economic Advisory Committee and the board of directors of the county National Conference of Christians and Jews, among others.
A native Washingtonian, he graduated from Cardozo High School. He served in the Air Force from 1960 to 1966, mainly as a communications specialist.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden and was chairman of its Finance Committee.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Dabney of Upper Marlboro; two children; his father; a brother; and two sisters.